Hi *mail merge*!
Hope you and *wossname/pet/favourite tree* are fine. We certainly are! I know we haven’t spoken in *inevitably long time, possibly ever* so here is my long letter of what we’ve achieved this year in case you missed it on the news! We’ll start with holiday locations and work our way through the prizes, degrees, New Year honours and commissioned TV shows. See you in two pages where you may find updates on animals and realise that any bad stuff has been mysteriously omitted!
Sorry, no. While I did get to read an actual round robin over Christmas, it was too gorgeous to possibly parody, so let’s think instead about resolutions which you can feel free to parody at a later date.
Get some hobbies, dickhead
My only real resolution last year was to find some hobbies. I realised that I didn’t do a single thing in my spare time that I couldn’t link to work or freelancing, or my woefully poor pitches. (I would be better off sending a sad owl with a note). So during the Olympics, I started horse riding again. Oh God, it was awful. I screamed. I was a shit-scared bag of nerves for months. But my instructors hid their eye rolls magnificently, and I’m now a marginally more competent bag of nerves who isn’t afraid to get on a different horse and yes I really was at first.
As a bonus, on sunny days I walk the hour from Camberwell to the school and get to perve over those obscene, gorgeous houses, and walk through Dulwich Common, which is just as obscenely gorgeous, and which seems to get prettier and more impressive with each season.
Embrace my neighbourhood, literally, if possible.
When I moved to my flat, I wanted to Be A Local, but it turns out this is rather difficult unless you have a dog, or a pram,or a dog in a pram, so instead I’ve befriended the animals and occasionally said hello to actual people. I’ve baked a bit for the lovely cafe. For half an hour, I held a girl’s hand to celebrate her birthday, as you do. Then I got pilates. It was lovely, and the instructor looked like a better-bottomed Amanda Holden, but it was on a Monday. Monday I’ve since learned is a night to spend communing with your sofa very quietly, or working late. No more pilates.
END OF THE WORLD
But that’s fine, because (brandishes dictionary triumphantly) resolutions are ends as well as beginnings. Well. Beginnings that you keep up for two weeks of the worst month of the year before throwing them, and yourself, into a slough of despond until February, when you can serve your friends dinner instead of handing them a blender to juice their detox plan. Resolutions of the New Year’s kind are why me and the friend I moved to London with six years ago have a longstanding anti-NYE, where midnight gets the briefest of TV switch-ons in between board games and enough booze and food to compound the damage done by Christmas.
Goodbye, Emeli Sande
2012 ended a lot of things, mostly in a good way. Like the Olympics. This time last year I was high as a kite at the prospect of rehearsing for the Opening Ceremony. Now, I’m realising that my lovely plastic bucket drum has settled into its new home as my gardening bucket. I can still speak all Rick Smith’s instructions over our track though, like a good Pandemoniumite.
Yep. To add to my long list of middle-aged pursuits, I started gardening after the Olympics. And all those bulbs and plants my parents carted down from Hampshire will start to do whatever it is plants do next year. Sprout? Blossom. I RESOLVE to see that through! It’s not as though I can do anything about it which is blissfully freeing.
Cheerio, wariness of New Things
I stopped using my PlayStation as a glorified tray-cum-DVD player, and thanks to my PS3 guru boyfriend, found that not everything on a console requires you to kill aliens or be able to use those bloody dual stick controls well. A while ago, a female games writer (that’s writer of games, not reviewer) got trolled by the lesser regions of the internet for admitting that she would much rather watch the story play out than actually play it. I saw what she meant in the likes of The Walking Dead and Okami. They were fantastic, beautifully-designed and drawn stories that I could play, and which were the perfect learning curve for how to use those bloody dual stick controls. I got a fucking platinum trophy on TWD! Suck on that, uncompleted Pokedexes from 1999-present! I also got obsessively hooked on Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes’ puzzles, and the lovely oddness of Portal 2 and Chime. Gaming is such a wonderful, creative industry and it is an absolute joy to see it expanding in so many exciting ways.
Au revoir, fume de ma clope
Just before Christmas marked my first year of absolutely not smoking cigarettes since I was 15! Hurrah! I have gained precisely no certificates or Nobel prizes which is upsetting, and not at all what the NHS promised me.
Thank God for e-cigs. I know they’re still filled with nicotine (which is still better than roads and dead pigeons) but I get it out of the emergency pocket in my handbag less and less now. Still, according to off-the-record doctors, quitting before you’re 30 is a winner, and I did. I will make a prize out of my next packet of Weetos.
Farewell, selfish tendencies – oh wait, no
And oh yes. This year ended my run of being excited about turning 30, because I turned 30, along with Channel 4 and Countdown and everything else I marched with out of 1982. The day was lovely. I went riding, and to the fireworks. And then later, suddenly it wasn’t.
(So as to avoid having to relate the many, many embarrassing/awful/fistbitingly inappropriate things I have done this year, it’s probably best to compound them all in to this one)
I got upset because some of my best friends, whose weddings and kids I’ve feted with much joy, missed it. I had a full on weep, in a pub (corner of a pub, thankfully). I realised, several years after everyone else, that the only person who particularly cares about turning 30 is you, and possibly London’s caterers. It’s only a birthday. I know! But it was my 30th birthday and so it didn’t feel like that at all. It was like that bit in Sex and the City when Carrie raises an eyebrow and opens a list at Christian Louboutin, only I did not open a list at Christian Louboutin and have had to Google it for spelling. So 2012 is also the year that I stopped giving a shit about my birthday, although I will still ascend to Labrador levels of excited about other people’s because how can you not?
I don’t want to resolve to do anything new in 2012 because novelty wears off sooner than the copper colour on Accessorize rings. So instead, I resolve to continue what I like doing, and to try and change what I don’t. That means ignoring the panic that comes from everyone going #amwriting on Twitter when I #ampanickingaboutwhattobewriting. And doing more writing. And not worrying about it not being incredible good, because writing 70,000 words is – unless you are my friend Helen and writing a gargantuan 2013 film preview – considerably different to journalism, blogging, or ad features, where you get 2000 at most, and usually 500. And some other things, and then the ones that would actually matter, like be less vague.
Mother Teresa’s legacy
Every year, I resolve, like every year, to be a better person, or at least a nicer one. I resolve to be more patient. More kind. More understanding. More amenable. I don’t think that happened in 2012, although I really started to enjoy beer which I think is a promising start.
Until the next, I wish you a Merry ongoing Christmas and a Happy New Year. And if you’re thinking of joining a gym, try the Zombies! Run! app first because it is brilliant.